Every SEU student, just like any other student for that matter, dreams of doing significant work with their degree. Southeastern University almnus, and PR graduate, Hope Dodson, is doing this to the utmost. After her internship at her home church, Free Life Chapel, Hope made the brave step to move to Haiti to work in an orphanage called Danita’s Children. The impact that she is making there is truly profound. The following is a post from her blog that really touched me. I feel that she is fulfilling the great commission and using her education to do so.
Music = Ear Candy for the Blind.
Can you imagine being blind? How about being blind in Haiti? How about being blind, having three children – two of them who are blind, and depending on your four year-old daughter to lead anywhere you need to go? Yep. True story. Now tell me how hard your life was today?
Two of the kids came into school on the first day, one is bind and the other is four and the dependent of the family. She has never just been a kid a day in her life, always making stuff happen and keeping her family out of harms way. That first day her mom, Julie, who is blind also, was late coming to pick them up, and little four year-old, 3 feet tall, Nouvley said behind her (in Creole) as she is running toward the property gate, without a drop of fear in her voice, “Mom’s not coming, Juvensky, you sit here and I’ll go call a taxi.”
About 45 seconds later to be seen walking back with her face in her hands and our security guard leading her toward us. It was her first day of Kindergarten so she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to just make stuff happen like she days every other day. Structure is a foreign concept in Haiti. My kind of girl though – find problems and fix them – no questions asked. One of our missionaries said that whenever she took the two children to the road to get a taxi (motorcycle) and take them home that she marched right up to the street and yelled for a taxi to “come and stop right here!” Then she proceeded to to tell the driver that her brother needed to sit in the middle because he can’t see and then she would sit behind him because she is little and Mami Heather would sit in back to keep them safe.
Watching Juvensky makes me smile. His spirit is so sensitive. To watch his heightened senses, when he sees a shadow, hears the slightest sound, or begins to inch his way on his hands and knees to cautiously approach a toy that has rolled away, in case of harm close by. I told him my name one time and anytime he heard me after that he would find my voice and say, “Mami Hope”. I wonder what I look like in his mind. Am I Haitian? Do he even know what Haitian looks like?
One day I watched him feel around everything that he came into contact with to reveals it’s identity – the storybook with plastic lady bugs on it, when he felt my wrists and looked alarmed at what could possibly be surrounding them (bracelets) and when he found a large pilates ball that he could push in front of him to ensure his navigation. I pulled out my phone and turned on my favorite playlist. It was as if the entire world stopped around him. He recognized music immediately due to his heightened senses. He didn’t know the words or the tune, but he had connected with something. It was touch and go for a minute because he sees with his hands and that isn’t exactly good for a touch screen phone – it was going on and off and every which way. I smiled watching him light up and was reminded of not only what people don’t have in Haiti, but how people who already have a disability make due in a world with no resources. I don’t know if he has ever even been able to hold a speaker up to his ear before.
Today I pulled out the big guns. My laptop. I turned on Kari Jobe. Her album cover is so bright and on the laptop he can put his eyes real close to the screen and see the bright shadows and listen to her voice. His smile is priceless, as if I made the world was alright for him again by providing something as simple as music.
Kari, if for some reason you ever read this please know that your music is changing lives. Literally. I let Jvensky’s mom (who is also blind) listen to your album via my cell phone and she was just overjoyed to have worship in her heart. Thank You – your album is amazing.